These are the voyages of the sailing vessel Pétillant. Her original eight-month mission: to sail from Baltimore to France via Florida and the Bahamas, to successfully navigate the shoals of the French douane, to boldly go where few Maine Coon cats have gone before was completed in 2008. Now she is berthed in Port Medoc and sails costal Spain, France, and the UK during the summer months.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Guard Cat Foils Burglary

Well, we hope the title got your attention. We are in Nassau, at the Nassau Harbour Club marina, where we have been for 2 days. We left Chub Cay with a NW wind, and could have sailed all the way here, but we were fighting a 2 kt current, and it would have taken nearly 12 hours to get here, so we motor-sailed, and had a great trip. Even Calypso was a bit better, because we were pretty flat all day.

We waited outside the harbor for 2 large cruise ships and one water tanker to exit, and then we followed the line of boats making their way to the marinas and anchorages here. We decided to take a marina because there is a “norther” coming thru this evening, and we wanted to be secure when the winds get to 25-30 kts. The marina/hotel is undergoing renovation, but it is full of boats, most like us heading south. Nice people, and lots of services within walking distance. We will do some re-provisioning tonite and we hope to leave for the Exumas tomorrow AM, on a (hopefully not too bad) north wind. We have eaten twice at the Poop Deck restaurant down the street. The first nite was an enormous hog snapper that they covered in jerk seasoning and grilled. It fed both of us, for both dinner and lunch the next day. Today we went back, and jlm had the lobster, which was good, if a bit overcooked, but we were shocked when we got the bill for $49(!). We had not asked the price, but it was a bit high. Maybe we will ask in the future, when they just say “market price” on the menus.

rxc got the engine oil changed yesterday, and took a tour of the auto parts stores, looking for a new belt for the alternator. He had thought that we needed a shorted belt than the one that was on the engine, and which was identical to the spare we carry. This was because the new alternator pulley is a bit smaller than the original one, and when it was tightened properly, the alternator contacted the side of the steps just slightly, and made an irritating noise. It looked like a belt about 1-inch shorter would fit and solve the problem, so off he went to find one. Unfortunately, 45” is NOT a common belt size, so he had to walk quite a bit to find one. Then, when he took off the old belt, which is the original to the engine, with only 400 hours on it, he found that the new belt was much too short. In fact, the spare 46” belt was just the right size for the new alternator. It seems that the old belt had stretched quite a bit. So, this morning, we walked back to the auto parts store to get the correct one. Ahhh the joys of boat repairs with non-standard configurations…

We then went all the way into the touristy part of Nassau, just as 3 large cruise ships discharged their cargos for a day of shopping. We were just window shopping, but we did have a major need for some sippin’ whiskey, which we eventually found. Nassau has LOTS of liquor stores, but their selection seems to be very constrained. We must have checked 5 stores before found the brand we wanted. They didn’t have our preferred Scotch, either, which is troubling. At least we have a good supply of wine on board.

So, you are probably wondering when you are going to hear about guard cat. It happened last night, after we were both asleep. rxc woke up about 11:30-11:45 when he thought he heard something like claws on the deck above us. He listened a bit more, and heard them again, and wondered whether the dynamic duo had made a breakout. He got up and went out into the cabin, where he noticed that the screen in the main hatch was hanging down, like a cat had gone through it (they like to sit on it from outside the boat, and it has had to be re-mounted several times). This caused the full alarm to be raised, and he went out on deck (sans culottes, bien sur) to search for the little devils. Surprisingly, they were not there. In fact, after searching only 1 minute, rxc was called below by jlm,who had done a full tail count and discovered all 4 still inside the boat. jlm then chastised rxc for his over-imaginative dreaming, and he went back to sleep. However, since she was now fully awake, jlm stayed up and read for 3 hours while Dante the guard cat went back and forth from one window to another like a caged animal, and would not calm down.

This morning, as we inquired in the marina office about the laundry facilities, we ran into one of the people from a boat two slips away from us, who rerpoted that they and the boat next to us had been burglarized in the night. The robbers had gotten into the boats, and had been so good as to steal money out of purses inside the cabins of the owners, as they slept! We have heard about theft problems here in Nassau, and we keep the dinghy locked up and nothing of value in the cockpit available to steal, but it was quite a shock. rxc talked to the owner of the boat next door, who had the same story, and related that their cell phone had also been stolen. No credit cards or anything else – just cash and the cell phone. We think that the thefts occurred about the time rxc was awakened, and maybe he scared them off, and maybe Dante was restless because he sensed that there were people outside who were bad. In any case, he has become our guard cat.

The other kitties are doing well, and we are all set to go further south. The Exumas are supposed to be beautiful, and there is a national park down there that we will go thru, so maybe one of us can do some professional development, but only as a hobby. We don’t know when we will next have WiFi connectivity (we are paying $12/day here, but it is worth it for the Vonage connectivity), but maybe there will be something in the park. If not, we hope to be in Georgetown by March 15, after which we will turn around and head back north, stopping to see Bill and Dot.

More photos to be loaded tonight.

As I finish this, the wind is freshening and veering to the NW. Let the north winds blow!

P.S Listening to the debate on WAMU this morning about the future of nuclear power left at least one of glad that he no longer has to deal with it. And the incoherent reporting of the Florida blackout/Turkey Point trip yesterday reinforces that feeling.

No comments: